Montreal Canadiens general manager Kent Hughes spoke to the rumours surrounding Josh Anderson, stating that there is indeed a lot of interest in him, but that they aren’t actively shopping him.
Earlier in the week, NHL Executive confirmed to Montreal Hockey Now that the Montreal Canadiens had been receiving a high quantity of calls on Josh Anderson dating back to February. On Thursday night during a press conference, Hughes was asked whether or not recently acquired Evgeny Dadonov would be flipped before training camp, and his answer was very interesting.
“I think it was reported that we could trade Josh Anderson because we’re getting a lot of calls on Josh in the past, but we never moved him,” said Hughes while addressing the rumours that have been flying the last week. “We’re in 32nd place, we need to evaluate all options we have to create flexibility under the Salary Cap. It’s not our plan.”
Hughes voluntarily brought up Anderson’s situation to help contextualize the status of Dadonov leading up to training camp in September, however, in both cases, he didn’t categorically rule out a move. When asked to follow up on his comments regarding Anderson, Hughes’ answer seemed to indicate that teams have been active in trying to acquire the player, but none of their offers had blown them away.
“I think we have to listen. We’re in 32nd place. We have to listen to all options to improve the teams,” said Hughes on whether or not he’d entertain calls on Josh Anderson. “We had many teams call on Josh, up until the TDL, and some have called recently too. That should tell you how much we like Josh.”
Déjà Vu From Montreal Canadiens?
This kind of positioning from Hughes was used leading up to the NHL Trade Deadline, where he openly admitted to not actively shopping Brett Kulak and Artturi Lehkonen. A few weeks later, both players were eventually traded for offers that were too good to pass up.
“We like Brett Kulak. We don’t intend to trade him, but I can never say we won’t,” said Hughes a few days prior to the Trade Deadline. “If there’s an offer we can’t refuse, we have to listen, but we’re not out in the market offering players.”
The trade positioning seems to be clear in this case, the Montreal Canadiens are open for business, but they aren’t going to trade their valuable assets for anything less than an absolute haul. The Kulak, Lehkonen and Ben Chiarot trades have shown us that Hughes is in no rush to make moves, and will wait for the right offer to make a splash. Whether or not the Montreal Canadiens do eventually trade Josh Anderson is up to other clubs and their willingness to provide the Canadiens with a package they simply cannot refuse.